County commissioners formally approved the proposed public safety radio project and heard quarterly reports from members of the Flint Hills Community Health Center during a regularly-scheduled meeting Thursday.
Lyon County Emergency Management Director Jarrod Fell approached commissioners with an updated final project cost from Motorola Solutions, also receiving approval for an initial $660,000 down payment on discussed tower and equipment leases — which could last seven years. Fell added that the new radios and accompanying systems would most likely be completely ready for use by next summer.
“The pricing for the project itself is a total of $5,163,564,” Fell said. “However, that includes the post-warranty for years two through five. The post-warranty itself of those years is $550,876. The City of Emporia radios total $801,775. So, once you remove those two costs, we’re looking at $3,810,913. The consideration is for the entire service agreement, lease and licensing fees, so that’s where you get the total amount.”
“Out of the entire lease agreement, we’re going to do $1.5 million out of the General Fund, which is property tax,” County Controller Dan Williams said. “Those are funds carried forward from previous years. It’s excess cash, we’re not adding any property tax to that. The rest will be paid through sales tax.”
Commissioners said although they realized the price of the project was a steep one, the new radios would serve to provide a major benefit for the community at large over the coming years.
“It’s a tremendous cost, but we owe it to our first responders and our citizens to get these types of things done,” Commissioner Dan Slater said. “We’ve had tornadoes in the recent past, and we’ll probably have some in the future. For whatever reason, we’ve been having those tornadoes replaced by a lot of flooding over the past few years. I’m not really sure if that’s a good tradeoff or not, but being able to communicate with everyone in those types of instances and other, smaller emergencies is especially important.”
In other business, Flint Hills Community Health Center Environmental Services Director Jennifer Milburn offered brief updates on the organization’s quarterly business. Among seeing increases in child care licensing and addressing other issues such as the epidemic of vaping-related illnesses, Milburn reported the center had also received positive financial news throughout the past three months.
“The last report that we had at our quarterly staff meeting shows that we should be ending the year in the positive,” Millburn said. “It’s very, very good news. We’re kind of out of the emergency response phase [of our financial recovery plan], so we’re now in the planning-for-the-future phase.”